A YOUNGSTER with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and one leg in plaster is to cross the Forth Road Bridge on foot to raise money for a charity which has helped her family.
Lauren Queripel, 12, is recovering from complicated surgery to help her mobility, and has suffered numerous setbacks on the way.
But nonetheless she is determined to complete the one-and-a-half-mile hike on October 29 – even if she has to hop it.
The money she raises will go to help Kindred, a charity which supports the families of children with additional needs.
Lauren, from Penicuik, underwent orthopaedic surgery in August to improve her muscle tone, gait and posture, but suffered infection and pain as she recovered. She has been unable to put weight on her right leg for eight weeks and it is still in plaster.
Her mother, Kathy Queripel, said: “I’m extremely proud of her. She’s come through an awful lot over the years, but she’s just gutsy, it’s in her character.”
Lauren was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 15 months old, and is also visually impaired. She receives regular Botox injections to reduce spasms in her legs and uses splints for support, but the condition of her legs has worsened recently, resulting in the need for surgery.
Ms Queripel said that, during Lauren’s recovery period at the Sick Kids, Kindred had provided invaluable support for the whole family, as it has done for several years.
“Without the support of Kindred we would have found this even more difficult than it was. It was traumatic enough, but it highlighted for us that a family when they’re in hospital, they’re socially isolated and they can be quite vulnerable.”
Lauren, who is a pupil at Saltersgate School in Dalkeith, is in training for the big event, and hopes to get the plastercast off her leg in time – but will continue even if she still has it, her mother said.
“She’s working with the physio at the moment and we’re slowly increasing her mobility,” she said.
“She’s been non-weight bearing on that leg for eight weeks and has been using her frame and crutches to hop about so she’s not going to be walking so much as hopping across the bridge.
“She’s very focused on doing this to try and make a difference. She’s very proud of herself and quite rightly so, because she’s been through so much.”
Lauren said she hoped to raise around £500 for Kindred, and added: “I’m doing it to raise funds for Kindred. They supported me and my mum and family. It’s going to be good – I’m looking forward to achieving it.”
To sponsor Lauren visit www.kindred-scotland.org